Transport of cosmic rays in the nearby starburst galaxy NGC 253

V. Heesen, R. Beck, M. Krause, R-J. Dettmar

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    Radio halos require the coexistence of extra-planar cosmic rays and magnetic fields. Because cosmic rays are injected and accelerated by processes related to star formation in the disk, they have to be transported from the disk into the halo. A vertical large-scale magnetic field can significantly enhance this transport. We observed NGC 253 using radio continuum polarimetry with the Effelsberg and VLA telescopes. The radio halo of NGC 253 has a dumbbell shape with the smallest vertical extension near the center. With an estimate for the electron lifetime, we measured the cosmic-ray bulk speed as 300 ± 30 km s-1 which is constant over the extent of the disk. This shows the presence of a disk wind in NGC 253. We propose that the large-scale magnetic field is the superposition of a disk (r, ) and halo (r, z) component. The disk field is an inward-pointing spiral with even parity. The conical (even) halo field appears in projection as an X-shaped structure, as observed in other edge-on galaxies. Interaction by compression in the walls of the superbubbles may explain the observed alignment between the halo field and the lobes of hot H and soft X-ray emitting gas. The disk wind is a good candidate for the transport of small-scale helical fields, required for efficient dynamo action, and as a source for the neutral hydrogen observed in the halo.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1028-1033
    JournalAstronomische Nachrichten
    Issue number9-10
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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